Running with MJ, Weeks 5 to 8
This week I’ve had a couple of followers contact me to tell me that my running blog has got them out running! That was the purpose, to help motivate people. I’m so happy about it and it gives me motivation to keep trying so here it goes….
My last running blog ended with me being disappointed that I hadn’t completed the goals I had set out for week 4 simply because I didn’t do one of my runs that week, with no excuse. For the next 4 weeks I was determined not to have it happen again and, maybe as a result, this period turned out to be an exciting time for my running.
The first week the goal was to run for 5 and walk for 1 for 30 minutes – a total of 25 minutes running. Not much more than the week before. Monday and Wednesday’s goals, I completed no problem on my own. However, I was having difficulty getting out the door on Friday, so I recruited my hubby for help (sometimes a good idea, sometimes it isn’t) and he very willingly joined me.
View of The Hague on a clear day.
The Netherland’s weather was warming up with Friday the hottest day of the week and the hottest weather I had run in this time around. We started out early and I realized quickly I was really having a hard time catching my breath; I assumed it was the heat. We slowed down a bit. Then again, I noticed I was huffing and puffing too much, so we slowed down more. When we finished, I realized the issue was we were running faster than I usually run when I’m on my own. My pace had gone from 9’29” to 8’43”. Though I was happy to have ran so fast, I knew that sort of running wasn’t going to get me to my goal. Getting out and enjoying the run is more important to me than doing it fast – at least at this moment in time.
When week 5 was over I was very happy with my success, having actually completed my weekly goal, plus I had run faster than I had been running. I wondered if I could run for 30 minutes straight?
View of Rotterdam Harbour from Kijkduin on a clear day.
After a weekend spent thinking about doing 3 - 30-minute runs for week 6 instead of my original plan (running for 6 and walking for 1 for 28 minutes), I headed out on Monday to attempt my first 30-minute run. Unfortunately, my fitness watch kept pausing. I know, I know, it was probably something I did, but it was frustrating. I ran what I had figured would be 30 minutes and counted the run as a success.
On Wednesday’s and Friday’s runs, the Netherlands had entered a heat wave which didn’t help encourage running at all. The weather for those two days was 27C and 33C respectively. I went out early to ensure I avoided the heat of the day, not to mention the crowds that gather on the beach in good weather here. Both days I completed the 30 minutes running 3.5 kms and 3.2 kms respectively. I WAS OVERJOYED! Not only did I manage to run for 30 minutes I had cut 5 weeks off my training plan (below is my original training plan) ! Also, I had originally thought I would be at 3 kms when I reached the 30 minutes of running goal, and I was running further than that (even in hot weather).
My success had me thinking about the following week, how would I proceed with the week now that I could run for 30 minutes straight? I had to revise my weekly goals and medium-term goal. Do I start running simply for 3 km next week? Do I go for 3.2 km, or 3.5km – after all I did go that far once this week? I had a lot to process over the weekend to set up my plan for Week 7.
When I set out on Monday, I was still on a high from having completed 30 minutes of running. I had decided over the weekend that I would run 2 days for 3.3 km, or 30 minutes if 3.3 km didn’t get me there, and do 1 hill training day (although we live in The Netherlands, we live by the dunes, so there are actually hills).
The Netherlands was still in the midst of a heat wave, which made running difficult. My route was also busy with people and keeping to the required social distancing was hard. Every day I set out early and I managed to do 3.3 km and 3.4 km respectively during 30 minutes of running, and had a faster running pace than I’ve had yet. For the hill training I again recruited my hubby and as I didn’t have to run far and running a bit faster over a shorter distance wasn’t so bad. I set a record pace of 8’11”, conquering 1 hill, but only running 1.6 km! It was an encouraging day.
All the excitement of Week 6 and Week 7 meant I needed to revise my running plan (see below). I excitedly removed 5 weeks of my original plan which brought it down to only 16 weeks of running to reach my 5 km goal. The plan was no longer as daunting as it had been.
Week 8 came and I set out for my first run of 3.5 km and completed it in 31 minutes at a pace of 8’51”. Again, I recruited my hubby for my hill running and completed the run in a record 7’55”. More excitement to keep me going. In addition, I hadn’t missed any of my planned running days, which 4 weeks ago I was concerned about. I was in a good place going into Week 9.